The Mark of a Successful Game

How do you know when your game is successful? How do you know that you have one of those games where the players are really into the story and action? How do you know that your game isn’t just good, but great?

These are hard questions, to be sure, ones that don’t always have clear-cut answers. Sometimes players won’t tell you if they’re not having fun because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Sometimes you misread your players and think they’re really into your game when they might not be.

I believe the mark of a successful game is when players give back. Perhaps they want to create something for your setting, such as a new technology for your sci-fi game. Or maybe they want to expand their character’s backstory to fit in better with your game, which in turn gives you new NPCs to use in future games. Maybe they want to build a new fortress or space station.

It’s at this point, when players give back, that you know they are invested in your setting, and you have a successful game.

Comments (7)

MicahSeptember 19th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

We usually wrap our session around 1 AM. The faster I get a text or phone call from the players, the better the session. If I see something from a player the following morning, that was a good session. Nothing until mid-week means that I’ve got to retool something.

SteveSeptember 19th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I really enjoyed it when my players where wanting to know more of the story and willing to help with it or wanted to create something they thought would be useful for the game and not just them.
I need to convey this idea to my current GM because he is not really understanding the idea of making the game for the players and not just for his babysitter NPC.

ZircherSeptember 19th, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Good session = “Oh crap, is that dawn?”

StorminatorSeptember 21st, 2010 at 12:16 pm

I used to run a Mutants and Masterminds Golden Age game. During one session, I remarked “I over-prepared. I should have just said ‘Nazis! Go!'” That was when it became clear that the game was truly fantastic. With just a tiny impetus the players took over and magic flowed out.

DanSeptember 21st, 2010 at 4:49 pm

It’s all about afterglow for me. If I’m a player, it’s the game I can’t stop thinking about. If I’m the GM, it’s the game the players don’t stop talking about.

Majestros729September 21st, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I am finding your podcast very insightful. Great work.

KytanosSeptember 22nd, 2010 at 12:39 am

I am in a game such as this. It is a pity however the gamemaster does not care at all for our contributions. It almost feel’s like im being punished for “giving back” when I spent 3 hour’s doing something, and the gm states to my face “Do not care”.

Perhaps I am overinvesting in the game, but the game is legimately good, and the gm is a good gm. It’s just this one situation that makes me almost feel Like I have been punished for helping with his game and engaging my enthusiasm, and while it is not discouraged. Such lack of interest can only damage a game in the long run.

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